October may be the official month of horror movies, with a pillowcase of spooky releases slated just before Halloween each year, but that doesn’t mean you are free from cinematic terror in the off-season. Especially since the summer has become an unexpected time slot for surprise horror hits like The Conjuring. This summer’s crop of horror films features a number of film festival selections as well as films from popular horror directors like Ti West, Scott Derrickson and the Dowdle Brothers.
If you’d like a quick refresher on what horror films to expect for the next few months, or if you just want to watch the trailers that will haunt your late-night television commercials now and get it over with, here’s a list with their unnerving trailers attached. Keep in mind that the dates listed below are for the U.S., though if the films are successful enough, they’ll surely be available eventually wherever you are.
You can’t hide:
In theaters June 6th.
Borgman follows a vagrant (Jan Bijvoet) on the run who worms his way into the home and consciousness of an upperclass family. The man toys with the husband and wife psychologically, slowly putting them at a palpable unease. The family’s lives gradually become infested with the presence of the mysterious man as the plot unfolds, creating a disorienting vibe for the audience as well as the characters.
Alex van Warmerdam‘s Borgman isn’t just impressing critics, it’s also tearing up the film festival circuit from Cannes to Toronto. The Dutch film is being compared to the disturbing but forever memorable Greek film Dogtooth, in addition to some of the most moving works of Michael Haneke. A quick watch of the trailer makes it evident that Borgman is a visually unsettling film likely to please the more highbrow horror fan.
In theaters June 6th.
A VICE photographer (Kentucker Audley), assisted by two of his co-workers (AJ Bowen and Joe Swanberg), goes to meet his fresh-out-of-rehab sister on the commune she’s been living at, Eden Parish. They are initially pleased to find the sister healthier than ever and jump at the chance to document the commune, before they realize that things are – you guessed it – not what they seem. It might be too late for the news team to escape Eden Parish and Father (Gene Jones) when they discover its bleak reality.
If there was anything to be taken away from the “Safe Haven” cult segment of V/H/S/2, it’s that the perfect subject for found-footage is cult investigation. The Sacrament is the latest from director/writer Ti West, who brought us The House of the Devil in 2009 and The Innkeepers in 2011, plus the segment “Second Honeymoon” in V/H/S shortly after. Already in limited release and available online, Sacrament has earned generally-but-not-always positive reviews in line with West’s previous work.
In theaters June 27th.
Sometime in the inevitably horrible future, a failed experiment designed to put a stop to global-warming has killed the majority of the world’s population and turned the surface into a nightmare of snow and ice. The only remaining citizens of Earth were those on a global train during the time of the experiment. Naturally, dictatorial hierarchy forms on the train led by the ultimate snow queen, Tilda Swinton, with the rubbish humans, like Chris Evans, living in deplorable conditions.
While Snowpiercer isn’t technically a horror movie, the premise is pretty terrifying, and more importantly it was directed by Joon-ho Bong, known for The Host and for usually making things more effectively scary than they need to be, regardless of genre. The film is based on a French post-apocalyptic graphic novel called “Le Transperceneige,” written by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette.
Deliver Us From Evil
In theaters July 2nd.
Eric Bana stars as real-life New York police officer Ralph Sarchie in Deliver Us From Evil, a film inspired by both the book “Beware The Night” co-written by Sarchie from Sarchie’s genuine police files. Bana’s character begins to investigate crimes believed to be based on possession, with the help of a priest with exorcism experience (Edgar Ramirez). Olivia Munn and Joel McHale round out the cast respectively as Bana’s wife and his police partner – an unusual shift for both actors famous for comedic work.
Scott Derrickson - who was just hired to direct Dr. Strange – wrote and directed the film, which is what really makes the film standout as a potential success. Derrickson put a twist on the exorcism horror sub-genre in 2006 with The Exorcism of Emily Rose, by making it a half-horror/half-courtroom drama, and then he did it again in 2012 with Sinister, which is mostly a horror film but also carries an investigative journalism vibe. If the cringe-inducing trailer for Deliver Us From Evil is any indication, it appears to be a terrifying mix of the two.
The Purge: Anarchy
In theaters July 18th.
Writer/director James DeMonaco returns for The Purge: Anarchy, this time with a cast of citizens who find themselves stuck outside on the night of the annual Purge, much less fortunate than Ethan Hawke’s family in the first film. Some planned poorly (okay, really poorly) like Zach Gilford’s character, and simply didn’t make it back home before “commencement,” while others, like Frank Grillo‘s character, were out and about with the intention to cleanse, murder-style, like the Purge is designed for.
The Purge was a sleeper summer hit last year, so it’s no surprise that the sequel is already about to hit theaters. The fresh premise has a lot to offer in the way of social commentary if done right, not to mention that it’s a perfect vehicle to document some potentially gruesome human brutality. If The Purge: Anarchy is even as close to successful as The Purge, it’s safe to say that DeMonaco’s concept will be just the beginning of a series with infinite sequel-ability, à la Final Destination.
As Above, So Below
In theaters August 15th.
The trailer for As Above, So Below looks like some kind of haunting mash-up of The Descent and Grave Encounters, taking place in what might actually be the scariest place on Earth: the Catacombs of Paris, which contain the skeletons of an estimated six million people. This found-footage film (yes, found-footage, again, but there’s only a couple on the list) follows two archaeologists into the Catacombs in search of some sort of a treasure, but obviously, they’re walking straight into the depths of Hell itself.
The premise of As Above, So Below is already so ghastly between the disturbing nature of the Catacombs and the whole “being lost underground in impossibly tight tunnels” thing that adding a demonic element to the film just seems cruel. No stranger to found-footage films, director/co-writer John Erick Dowdle and brother/co-writer Drew Dowdle are responsible for Quarantine and The Poughkeepsie Tapes, the first receiving mixed reviews but spawning a sequel and the second becoming somewhat of an enigmatic cult favorite over time.
In theaters August 29th.
After a crippling accident, Jessabelle (Sarah Snook) returns to her childhood home for some peace and quiet, but instead, she finds a gift from her mother who died long ago — and a demented spirit who has been awaiting her arrival for the entire time she was gone. Jessabelle appears to be a classic ghost story in a big ole’ Louisiana house, if the tormented had also recently been confined to a wheelchair.
What the film really has going for it besides a solidly scary trailer is the production company behind it. Blumhouse got its big break with Paranormal Activity but kept up the pace with inventive and clever paranormal films such as Insidious, Sinister and Occulus. Let’s hope that Blumhouse can successfully put another twist on the paranormal sub-genre and make Jessabelle stand out from the rest.
What horror movies are you looking forward to this summer? Let us know in the comments!